“When people stopped smoking, toxic clouds disappeared from indoor spaces like bars, restaurants, and offices. I think something similar would happen if people stopped reading the news, except the detoxified indoor spaces would be our own heads.”

Brilliant.


“The speed of review times and increasing number of FDA-approved cancer medicines has long been used as a metric for successful regulatory processes and improvements in patient outcomes.”

Here are three good reasons why that isn’t so, to which I would add Goodhart’s law.


PSA: don’t dig holes in the sand. A few years ago my wife and I finished a Thanksgiving beach outing by helping dig out a kid (not ours!) completely buried after a hole he was in collapsed. He made it out alive, but it was traumatic for everyone involved.


The NYT dostarlimab article is reverberating through international media with predictable consequences: being hailed as a miracle cure for cancer. I wrote about it in Serbian, and Google’s translation of it is readable, in an AI-generated spam sort of way.


“It is in the nature of jesters to speak their minds when the mood takes them, regardless of the consequences. They are neither calculating nor circumspect, and this may account for the “foolishness” often ascribed to them.”

Fools were everywhere. Not so much anymore.


Residency programs’ publication requirements generate the worst kind of scientific BS — useless case reports and rushed chart reviews that clog lit searches without creating any meaningful insight, all while wasting residents’ precious time. Please stop.


“Brilliance represents an upper bound on the quality of your reasoning, but there is no lower bound.”

A frameable quote if there ever was one, from an excellent blog post on why smart people may believe dumb things.


The bullshitization of science

“At a conference a few months before the pandemic, a scholar told me how, in his department, everyone wrote lengthy pre-analysis plans that would, in theory, constrain P-hacking. In practice, he admitted, researchers could give cherry picking free rein, counting on the fact that no one has the time or patience to read a 100-page pre-analysis plan and compare it with the later publication.” This is from an opinion piece in Nature about reproducibility of science in general, but the sentiment holds for clinical research (arguably, clinical research is even worse, for those hailing results of a clinical trial as game-changing often can’t be bothered with reviewing even a brief ClinicalTrials.

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To reform NIH, maybe you should first understand it?

You don’t have to convince me that NIH grant funding needs to be reformed, but all this article in The Atlantic did was show that even people who get their funding from NIH (i.e. the two authors) have no clue about how NIH operates or what its mission is. For instance, this assertion: “… the NIH, the largest public funder of clinical trials in the United States, should also have been well positioned to create treatment guidance for doctors caring for patients hospitalized with a brand-new disease.

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Walking around Seoul

“Seoul is not a pretty town, not at least by most Western senses of beauty. It is a sprawling mix of the haphazard, with little seeming cohesion, beyond a shared culture. Two hundred and fifty square miles of building after building, of all styles, of all facades (glass, brick, stucco, tile, fake brick, fake stucco), jammed up against each other, almost all covered in visually loud, bright, large ads.”

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